Is there anything that Google doesn't know?
These days, you use the word "spatula" in an email and you'll be bombarded with dozens of internet ads for spatulas for the next month. Now—thanks to their massive databank generated by all of our hairbrained, fad-obsessed searches—Google knows what we'll likely be eating in the months and years to come.
Here's hoping you like turmeric, jackfruit, sourdough bread, and Funfetti, because Google says those are the foods that are currently on fire across America.
Google used search data from January 2014 to February 2016 to compile its Google Food Trends Report 2016, in which Google's Food and Beverage research team offers insights into what's on the rise and what's falling off when it comes to food. Ever the entrepreneurs, Google's report says the insights could be used by brands to "educate consumers on the benefits associated with each ingredient, as well as provide methods, tips, and recipe content for consumption."
Some foods, like ramen, bibimbap, and empanadas, have been on the way up for some time. Others, like pho, pork shoulder, and bitter melon, are seasonal trends that are likely to come back year after year around the same time, with even more furor.
Then there were rising stars like turmeric, which—along with cauliflower rice and vegan doughnuts—have been blowing up over the past few months. The Google team notes that these trends might be flashes in the pan.
Google was able to see what was on the way out, too. Mercifully, rainbow bagels are losing their interest fast, while searches for quinoa and kale chips are also waning which each passing summer. Gluten-free cupcakes, bacon cupcakes, bacon cinnamon rolls, and wheat-free bread have been on a steady decline over time, signaling that bacon bros are losing their grip on the meat world.
Google notes that when it comes to turmeric, for example, people seem to be researching how to use the stuff in home cooking. Searches for turmeric were up 56 percent from November 2015 to January 2016, and searchers often paired the word "turmeric" with "recipe," "smoothie," or "juice." (Perhaps those same users, after trying out a recipe, should also search for "stain removal.")
Around December of last year, turmeric became a trend in every major US city, by Google's measure. Other dishes were more regional, with pho, for example, being most popular on the West Coast. In the winter, people looking for a Sunday project get excited by pork shoulder—searches for pork shoulder increase by 22 percent on weekends.
When it comes to recipes, most people remain old-fashioned: waffles reign supreme, followed by sugar cookies, brownies, and chocolate chips.
So if in the coming months you begin to see more turmeric in prominent positions in your local grocery store, or if a new fast-casual bibimbap place opens up near your office, think of it as a symptom of Google's food-search panopticon.
After all, they probably know you—all of us—better than we do ourselves.